Performance Review

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“SHANNON HOPE BLOWS ONE AWAY”
Written by Fiona Gordon
ARTSLINK, MAY 2010

A friend of mine loves live music. Loves it. I’ve never been quite as much of a fan, but then he discovers someone great, and local, and introduces me.

I like local. And if they’re brilliant, which they often are – they have a fan for life.

Shannon Hope is one of these artists. I’ve seen her around online a bit – a couple of gigs advertised here and there. Read a bit about what she says about herself, because that’s the sort of thing I do. But I still didn’t really know what to expect when I took myself through the underground maze that is the parking lot, and entrance, to the Villagers Rugby Club Clubhouse that houses the Barleycorn Music Club some Monday nights.

She dresses as you could expect a rock star to dress. A little bit grungy… But cool… But when she opens her mouth, it’s not what I expect at all.

I sit, breathless, forcing myself to break my reverie with half-hearted applause at the end of each song. She has me entranced. I’m a words chick. And blow me down if she doesn’t make me think with the words of every song. Every one. Her online blurbs say her music will ‘make you think and feel’. And in spite of that created expectation – it really was true! And that speaks nothing of her performance…

I think part of the reason I am not such a fan of live music, is that musicians are often really not great performers, and so I spend a lot of the time trying to stop myself from being irritated with the way their spare hand floats aimlessly in space, or the apologetic babble between songs. But none of that here. This woman knows her craft. Her voice is strong and gorgeous, and she manages it with expertise. As she does her body, which controls her keyboard with the same… And I am blown away.

Shannon Hope calls what she plays ‘Art Pop’. She launched her fulltime musical career merely a year ago, and is ‘fast gaining a reputation as one of the hardest-touring self-managed artists on the national circuit’.”

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